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Is Your Chimney Ready for Winter?

As winter weather sets in, we all start to look longingly toward our fireplaces for warmth and light. But before you light that fire, make sure your home, fireplace, and chimney are ready and safe. Here’s a checklist to start with:

Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home.

Is Your Chimney Ready for WInter - Suffolk County NY - Chief ChimneySmoke detectors should be installed on every level of your home, and should be checked often.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, tasteless, and odorless gas produced when certain fuels are burned that has the potential to kill if left undetected. Carbon monoxide detectors should be placed on each level of the home, especially near sleeping areas.

Stock up on seasoned firewood.

Only use firewood that was cut and split at least six months ago, and has been stored in a high and dry place protected from rain and dampness. Green and/or wet wood produces more creosote, which could lead to chimney fires.

Reverse your ceiling fans.

During the summer months we use our ceiling fans to move cool air around, but in the winter months the fan blades should rotate the opposite way to make sure the warm air that has risen to the ceiling is pushed back down to the ground where you can enjoy it.

Have a CSIA-certified chimney technician visit.

Chimney Safety Institute of America-certified technicians have gone through extensive training and education to ensure that they can identify and treat fireplace and chimney damage or problem areas. You should have a CSIA-certified technician inspect your chimney at least once a year. The tech should inspect your chimney and fireplace and will alert you to any structural issues like cracked linings, missing or broken masonry, and mortar joint issues.
If necessary (the technician will tell you), have them sweep your chimney to remove any potentially flammable creosote left over from last year’s fires.
Consider having the technician install a chimney cap. People aren’t the only things that get cold in the winter! Birds, bats, and other small animals like to escape the cold, and your chimney seems nice and cozy. A chimney cap will keep these little guys out, making your life much easier.

Before you light that fire, call Chief Chimney Services serving the Suffolk, NY area. Our CSIA-certified technicians can talk to you about inspection options, sweeping, and chimney accessories to keep your home warm and your fires safe.

By John Pilger on November 25th, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Have Your Heating System Inspected After Cold Weather

Spring has sprung in Suffolk County! While you are busy breaking out your shorts and sandals and prepping your home for outdoor entertaining with family and friends, make sure your spring cleaning checklist includes having your chimney and heating system inspected. We had a long, cold winter this year and the type of weather we endured can take its toll on your chimney. At Chief Chimney Services we are happy to come to your home and do a thorough chimney inspection.

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Why Have Your Chimney Inspected After Winter?

During winter a lot of things are happening outside that can affect what happens to your chimney on the inside. For example, when the weather freezes and thaws, this can cause the mortar in your chimney to expand and contract. The result of expanding mortar is often cracked and broken bricks inside your chimney.

A lot of simple masonry damage can remedied with some tuckpointing once the weather breaks. A professional chimney company can come to your home and tuckpoint, or force fresh mortar into the joints of your bricks in order to preserve the integrity of the chimney and prevent further breakage.

Another way winter weather can take its toll on your chimney is by water damage. If your chimney has not been properly capped, or if your chimney cap is broken then you may notice some water damage inside your chimney. Water can cause creosote build-up and can cause your fireplace or woodstove to work ineffectively. Having your chimney inspected after the long winter months can make sure any water damage is not extensive and can also remedy the problem before it becomes too serious.

During winter months, critters like birds and squirrels look for any place warm and dry to call home. Your chimney may have become home to these types of pests when the cold weather was here, and a professional chimney inspection and sweeping can remove these critters so they don’t wreak havoc on your chimney.

Hiring A Certified Chimney Sweep

The best way to prevent chimney damage is to have a professional, certified chimney sweeping company come to your home and take a look at your chimney. CSIA certified chimney sweeps are held to the highest educational standards in order to offer premium chimney sweeping services. Our certified chimney sweeps will come to your home and provide a thorough inspection and sweeping of your chimney just in time for the warm weather. Some things our technicians look for include:

  • Rusting components such as dampers and flues
  • Sticks, leaves and other debris
  • Bird and squirrel nests
  • Brick and mortar damage
  • Shifting chimney structures

Contact Chief Chimney Services in Suffolk County today for more information about how we can inspect your chimney and fireplace as part of your spring cleaning. Tackling chimney care as part of your home maintenance can keep the integrity of your chimney intact, which can make starting fires in your wood-burning heating appliance that much easier next winter. Call the professionals and have your chimney inspected and swept by the best in the business today.

Recent Bad Weather Could Damage Your Chimney

It’s been a winter of record-breaking weather in the Northeast United States. The Weather Channel is reporting some of the worst weather in years, and New York City has experienced some of the coldest temperatures in ten years. With the month of March expected to come in like a lion, many homeowners are concerned about the potential damage all this weather could be causing.

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The Stack Effect

The cold weather could be affecting your heating bill, but beyond that harsh winter weather can also affect your chimney. During something called The Stack Effect, the cold air from the outside of your home battles with the warm air inside your home. When cold air is forced down your chimney and into your home (because of chimney leaks or a poorly capped chimney) this can force a back draft in your fireplace making lighting a fire almost impossible.

The Moisture Effect

Another major culprit of chimney damage is moisture. When there is an excessive amount of snow and/or ice like we’ve been experiencing in the Northeastern United States, this precipitation can make its way into your chimney. Not only can this make it very difficult to light a fire in your fireplace or stove difficult but it can also create a build-up of creosote. Creosote is a potentially harmful chemical build-up inside a chimney that occurs when a fire isn’t burning hot enough.

How You Can Protect Your Chimney From Winter Weather

Moisture and cold air are two of the main culprits causing chimney damage during the long and cold winter months. Luckily, there are certain precautions you can take to make sure you address chimney damage before it becomes a major problem:

After heavy snowfall, inspect the exterior of your chimney for any noticeable damage.
Inspect the interior of your home for water damage or peeling paint/wallpaper around your chimney or fireplace. This could signify a leak or other chimney damage.

Perhaps the best thing you can do to protect your chimney happens before winter sets in. Hire a professional chimney sweeping company like Chief Chimney Services in Suffolk County to inspect and sweep your chimney before the winter months. Your chimney sweeping company will make sure there is no major damage to your chimney and will keep it clean. Beyond that, your chimney sweeping company will:

Recommend a top-sealing damper
Re-line your chimney
Recommend and install a chimney cap

These easy add-ons can protect your chimney from harsh winter elements like cold air and moisture. After all, having an airtight chimney is the best way to protect against bad winter weather.

This winter has been one of the record books. Between the frigid temperature and immense amount of snow many homeowners can’t wait for spring to arrive. While you’re waiting out the storm, be sure to hire a reputable, professional chimney sweeping company to help you maintain your chimney and keep it in great working order. An airtight chimney will heat your home, as well as keep your loved ones safe while winter continues to rear its ugly head.